xxxxx Throughout this time, the discipline of Bahrainis has been a valuable asset for the country. It also shows that while we may not agree on the details of doing things, it doesn’t change the fact that we love our country Through his long association with the United States (US) dating back to his days at university, he has been an admirer of American educational institutions, its rich cultural and touristic heritage. His association with the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) Bahrain, therefore, comes as no surprise. “Be it education, medicare or essential technology, the US touches so many aspects of our day-to-day lives that it would be foolish to ignore. Besides being a significant trade partner, our security links with the US are historic and substantial. My objective here is to emphasise the strength of these relations,” says the AmCham Bahrain chairman.
Hamid Rashid Zayani
Building Momentum In its seventh year now, AmCham Bahrain is working harder than ever to better engage with the business community in the US.
This summer will mark the completion of what has been a watershed year for Bahrain. Hamid Rashid Zayani believes Bahrainis have handled the crisis with great respect for each other and minimum casualties. “Throughout this time, the discipline of Bahrainis has been a valuable asset for the country. It also shows that while we may not agree on the details of doing things, it doesn’t change the fact that we love our country,” he says. Surprisingly, Bahrain’s industrial sector has remained resilient even as the retail and hospitality sectors have borne the brunt of the unrest. “Our group achieved the highest growth in industrial output catering to the export market last year. The service sector including medical care has been growing; in fact, all exportoriented industries have grown. Even the real estate sector presents a window of opportunity as the market corrects itself,” notes Hamid.
70 May 2012 BTM America In Bahrain
Changing gears Hosting the American Week in Bahrain, a celebration of American culture, heritage and the American way of life, has been the brainchild of AmCham Bahrain. As part of the schedule of events, AmCham hosts a business symposium on the second day at the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce, with an American speaker addressing trade issues. Hamid believes Bahrain can derive much more mileage out of its Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the US. “America can no longer ignore that the GCC is a US$1 trillion dollar economy which will double in size by 2020. Bahrain remains the gateway to the Gulf. There’s significant scope for investment in sectors such as solar power, medicare technology and of course, banking.” AmCham Bahrain has opened up its association with counterparts in the US. It has taken membership with the Greater New York Chamber of Commerce and is forging links with other American business forums as well. He will further outline new opportunities in a changing MENA region at the AmCham Regional MENA council in Tunisia in May. Sectors such as ICT, tourism, agri-business infrastructure as well as renewable energy are ripe for foreign investment, he believes. “The whole of MENA region represents vast opportunities as a trading block for the US. We want to assess ways of building on the current initiatives to promote trade with companies in the US as well as among MENA countries, highlighting the success stories and setting a benchmark for a strong presence in the region,” he says. AmCham Bahrain presently has around 30 members, a majority of them Bahrainis in the upper echelons of American companies here. Hamid has restructured the chamber’s management and the changes will be reflected in a revamped website that will be unveiled soon.
Published on May 8, 2012